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Channel 4 is set to cut up to 200 jobs – almost a sixth of its current workforce – to “re-engineer the linear business” as it focuses on digital growth and navigates the TV ad market slump.

As first reported in The Guardian, this is the broadcaster’s biggest round of lay-offs since 2008, when it reduced its 875 permanent roles, also by 200. It is seen as a necessary step to limit the extent of content cuts as it seeks to mitigate its deficit.

Today, C4 employs more than 1,200 people and the jobs are expected to fall in its London headquarters, as it has a commitment to grow its regional workforce in Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol and Manchester from just over 500 today to more than 600 by next year.

Following the newspaper’s report, C4 chief executive Alex Mahon has confirmed plans in an internal memo.

As reported in Broadcast, Mahon told staff: “We have been working carefully to minimise the impacts on individuals and get Channel 4 into the right shape and size for the next ten years. I am sorry that some job cuts will inevitably be involved.

“I know many people are concerned about this. But getting our organisation into the right shape and the right size for the digital world is a process we have been engaged in for some time. The market is shifting fast, and, as we always have done, Channel 4 has to move fast to adapt and imagine our future for a world that will continue to change.

“What we are doing now is accelerating our existing plans to weather the sharp and protracted advertising slowdown that has hit the whole industry. This will enable us to adapt to the digital disruption affecting the entire media industry to reach new generations of viewers, fulfil our remit and sustain our long-term future as a prosperous business.”

The cuts follow an ongoing focus on C4’s digital business, which has also led to a priority of commissions with a potential high on-demand impact, meaning a scaling back of daytime shows such as the recently-axed Steph’s Packed Lunch.

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